Tag Archives: students

Just enough light for the step you are on

22 Aug

Isn’t it amazing when God gives you vision? When prophecies or dreams give you that peace that surpasses understanding, or things just seem to fit beautifully into place? Sometimes God works like that…. but what about when he doesn’t?

What about when you have a summer stretching ahead of you, no job and an overdraft to pay back? What about when you have left uni and the post-recession workplace offers little comfort for your career plans? What about when you face being at home for 3 months, and you don’t quite know how to navigate those tough family dynamics?

I was reminded of childhood afternoons of treasure hunting. Little pieces of paper would direct us to the next clue until eventually we reached the prize. Those little scrawled messages coupled with perseverance were all we had until we reached the next stage. Sometimes it was fun – the mystery, the searching… however sometimes it was frustrating and I yearned to bin the cryptic clues and just hunt for the prize.

Sometimes God gives us just enough light for the step that we are on

This statement keeps catching my eye from the spine of a book on my shelf at home. In a season filled with uncertainties about finance and jobs, it’s a reminder that although God doesn’t often reveal the big picture, he gives us what we need for the month, week or even just the day! This could be insight, money or a sense of peace over a decision you need to make. Matthew 6v34 (NLT) echoes just this: ‘So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today’.

In the Lord’s prayer, we pray ‘Give us today our daily bread’. Sometimes we skim over it without thinking, especially when we feel secure that the paycheck is coming, our friendships are ticking along nicely, we feel secure in love, and the fridge is full. But sometimes that line is said as a heartfelt prayer in itself, perhaps loaded with desperation.  So what do you do when life finds you scrabbling for clues as to what’s next? If you, like me, are in that place right now, try these tips for size (along with some verses to look at in your quiet time… or moments of panic:

– Take some time to think over your testimony, stories of forgiveness, moments of revelation and miracles of provision. Remind yourself that your God is faithful. Read 1 Corinthians 1:9

– Pray for peace that transcends circumstance. Not only will this quieten your heart, but what an amazing witness to others as they see you calm in the face of uncertainty and storm. Read Romans 15:13

– Share testimonies and stories of how God has worked in your life. It is inspiring and affirming. What a way to raise expectation. He’s done it before, he will do it again. Read Hebrews 2:4 

– Be expectant. Wait confidently in the assurance that God knows the complexities of your situation, he knows what you need best. Read Micah 7:7

– Don’t be afraid. You are hemmed in by God. He has gone before you and will be with you, no ground you tread on has been un-trodden on by your God. Read Deuteronomy 31:8

I want to finish with God’s words concerning the future in Revelation, the unknown, the mystery of what is to come are these:

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end’ (Rev 22:13 NLT). 

He is already in the future, and he is good.

 

Botch-jobs and fast-food

10 May

Botch jobs go wrong – sooner or later. TV programs are devoted to lazy surgeons operating without truly knowing what they’re doing, and cowboy builders doing jobs worthy of announcing your home as a hazard.

Your God isn’t a God of the botch job

I apologise lads, this is about to get a tad girly. Because what better picture of the anti-botch job exists than a Pearl? I have lots of ‘pearls’; my current favourite are huge – the size of sweetshop gobstoppers. Most people own cultured, processed, farmed or plastic pearls, but very few people own real, natural pearls.

Real pearls are expensive and rare (1 in 10,000 oysters) and cherished. So cherished in fact that in Matthew 13:44 a man sold all he had to buy a field containing one.

How many of us want fast-food-style responses to our prayers. Prayers quickly answered with obvious effect.  Botch-job answers.  We pray for those we love, our students, our campus and we want answers NOW.  If we don’t see the fruits of our prayers in days, weeks, months, we begin to ask questions of God. Is he listening? Does he care? Surely our prayers are in line with him

The natural pearl is formed over ten years; layer upon layer is built around an irritant or a tiny speck of sand, encased in a fleshy oyster in the secret depths of the seas. And God works in those secret places, in the depths of identities and spiritual strongholds. He works in people from the inside out, from the secret depths, moving through to the outside behaviors that we see and often use as a measure of ‘where people are at’.

I want to encourage you in your prayers – prayers for your friends, your situations, your campuses. Prayers that you might not have seen answers to yet and perhaps you are disheartened about. Keep praying – trust that your prayers are that speck of sand that form the irritant for the change, habit or the heart behind the campus. An irritant that provokes dis-ease, and questioning at the very core, questions that shake foundations and shine lights into dark places.

Plastic pearls loose their value and shine, real pearls are of value throughout. Just as quick change can loose it’s shine if the real groundwork and foundations aren’t there, deep, timely change can last a life time.

It’s in the discomfort of the process, the confusion of the patience and the gentleness of the Father that true pearls are formed, and true, deep change comes about.

‘We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised’ Hebrews 6:12